Support for life with diabetes: Traditions and Progress

This is the beginning of November. November is Diabetes Awareness month. I was diagnosed in November many years ago. Today I walked in the Phoenix JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes 2011. Many things have changed since 1986. Many things have not.

The best things I saw today were the sheer number of participants. It doesn’t make me happy to know there are that many more people with diabetes out there, but it made me happy to see such participation, awareness, support and sponsors! Also for the first time in many years, my mother was with my family to walk. What a tradition to have had!  My mother and I have walked many times in this fundraiser when we lived in the same town. My older sister was going away to school shortly after I was diagnosed. She has walked in each state every year wherever she has lived. I was diagnosed while living in a smaller town than Phoenix. My mother and grandmother were trailblazers in finding support groups with whom to meet.  Not everyone was running around with an iphone, email or the internet. It was old fashioned hard work, pounding the pavement and dedication. Oh how I love that my mother would still walk to the ends of the earth to find a cure for me! A great tradition. She is there in every way for me, even when I get frustrated by her. It was amazing to see her realize and witness how much more recognition and support is out there. She has worked tirelessly for me. It’s different now that I’m no longer a child, but her support is still there. My grandmother, if she was still alive today, would have been amazed and probably helping to push her way through the walk in her wheelchair at 99! Tradition and progress!

We have such a long way to go. Diabetes leads to many “down “times. It also has helped form some incredibly strong people out there. Although my bloodsugar was a little high when I woke up this morning, and I first thought, “Are you kidding me? Today of all days?” My child was overly tired from a big Friday evening after school and really didn’t want to get up and go. We went and after seeing the progress made and the energy that was shared, it was an “up” day! Living with diabetes is funny that way. We are all trying to find a balance throughout every minute of every day with no pause button or “I’ll work harder tomorrow”, because it’s 24 hrs. It is a constant fight! Although, it is rare, there are some parts of life with diabetes that can bring a smile to your face. The good friends that do not have diabetes in their family and show their support for another family or friend is so memorable. There are the companies and organizations that come out to promote their business and therefore give us more options to make life with diabetes a bit easier.

Families and friends that support life with diabetes is immeasurable! What an excellent tradition to remember. Someone can always help another, even if only in support. My mother looked across a crowd and saw a young mother surrounded by family and friends. She was a beautiful lady and was taking care of a beautiful little girl. They seemed so at ease and happy to me. My mother said after observing them from afar, “She’s the mother of a recently diagnosed Type One or T1 child.” I was amazed and thought my mom was a litte over emotional or was just plain crazy. She said, “I can see it in her face. I know that face. I still feel that.” The lady was smiling and seemed content to me. Then I looked at the child. I recognized that I had been the little girl and the young mom was what my mother had been. How someone can see that is unnerving, but once you’ve walked in the child’s or the parents’ shoes, sometimes you just recognize it. Tradition! There is still much progress to be made, but it is happening. Support for people with Type 1, Type 2 or gestational Diabetes is out there!   The traditions are what continues to fuel us and we are making progress, slowly but surely.

The Diabetes Coach

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